Dance Theatre of Harlem Student Returns to Hartford for THE NUTCRACKER

Ballet Theatre Company (BTC) of West Hartford celebrates its 12th annual performance of The Nutcracker ballet this month in West Hartford, Connecticut. Rickey J Flagg II a Hartford native, will perform the role of Cavalier in BTC's production.

Mr. Flagg trained at the Greater Hartford Academy of the Arts, danced with dancEnlight, Equilibrium, and earned his Bachelors in Fine Arts fromattended the Hartt School at the University of Hartford for one year. Mr. Flagg continued his study at the International Ballet Academy in Greer, South Carolina and currently resides in New York City, studying ballet with the Dance Theatre of Harlem's Professional Training Program.

"Some of my family haven't seen me dance since I first started at the [Greater Hartford] Academy, and now they have the opportunity to see me dance a lead role in a great production." Mr. Flagg went on to say, "A few of my family members thought dance was just an extracurricular activity and now they get to see me excel in my chosen career. My mother is so excited and is telling everyone about it!"

Joining Mr. Flagg on stage this year will be 16 other professional dancers from around the world and 70 students from the Greater Hartford area. This group of dancers, again this year will be led by RomanBaca who will choreograph BTC's production.

Mr. Baca is the Artistic Director and General Manager of Ballet Theatre Company and a Marine Iraq War Veteran. After a career in dance, Mr. Baca served in Fallujah, Iraq from 2005-06. "When BTC professionals are rehearsing, the youngest dancers in the cast have their faces pressed to the windows of the studio to watch and after a performance children are dancing in the lobby - that's the magic of The Nutcracker." Baca said.

BTC, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and is proud support the children of the Greater Hartford, by providing an outreach performance of the ballet free of charge to hundreds of underserved children area each year. BTC is supported in part by the United Arts Campaign of the Greater Hartford Arts Council and the Connecticut Office of the Arts, Department of Economic and Community Development.

During the performances Marines will be on hand to collect toys for the Marine's Toys for Tots Foundation, who distributes those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community.

The Carol Autorino Center for the Arts and Humanities at the University of Saint Joseph,1678 Asylum Avenue, West Hartford, CT, will host public performances of the The Nutcracker on December 19 at 6:30 pm, December 20 at 7:30 pm, December 21 1:00 pm and 5:00pm, December 22 at 1:00 pm and 4:30 pm. For information or ticket sales go to the Ballet Theatre Company website at or call 860-570-0440.

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by Barnett Serchuk